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I was asked to take hostages at CST, Ajmal tells court

Rahi Gaikwad

Media barred from highlighting part of confession pertaining to purpose of attack

Mumbai: After surprising the world with his confession, Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’ on Tuesday signed a copy of his confession statement in the Special Sessions Court in the Arthur Road jail.

The court asked him how he learnt about Pakistan’s acceptance of his nationality, particularly when he had no access to either newspapers, television or the Internet. The lone surviving gunman replied that he had received the news from a guard on duty outside his cell.

Ajmal told the court that when he and Abu Ismail were given the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) as a target, they were told to take hostages and move them to a higher level. “We were told to open fire and take hostages to an upper floor and to fight with those who were coming to their rescue, including the police,” Ajmal said.

Ajmal made some crucial statements on Tuesday as part of his confession. They pertained to the purpose of the attack as indicated by the perpetrators and masterminds and the message they wanted to send to the government of India. Ajmal also wanted to convey a message to his handlers. However, this part of his confession faces a court ban on publication.

In view of the communally sensitive nature of Ajmal’s statements, judge M.L. Tahaliyani passed an order banning the publication and broadcast of Ajmal’s statement recorded on Tuesday by any media or person, except the part which pertains to the CST. Mr. Tahaliyani remarked that the trial was at “a delicate stage.”

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam asked for a day’s adjournment.

Mr. Tahaliyani remarked that it was not in all cases that a lengthy plea, such as this one, was recorded. However, “since there are many charges against ‘Kasab,’ it was done in this case.”

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